Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Apple Juice

We have apples coming out of the wazoo! I guess it is too cold to grow apples up here (there are no local orchards that I know of), so my in-laws bring us a whole whack of apples from down south every fall. So, after making apple pie, apple crisp, and huge batch of apple sauce, we still had tons left. The obvious thing to do next was to try my hand at apple juice. OK, first just let me say that apple juice is A LOT of work. I don't know how they can sell huge cans of it for 99 cents. I started with a recipe in my canning cookbook that called for 24 lbs of apples to be chopped, cooked in 8 cups of water, then hung in a cheesecloth and left to drip for 2 hrs. That sounded like too much work, plus I doubted any cheesecloth could hold 24 lbs of cooked apples. Enter my Jack LaLanne power juicer! I figured the juicer would eliminate the initial cooking step and perhaps filter the juice a bit. Well, it didn't work exactly as planned since the juice still needed considerable straining to filter out all the sediment. Here is what I did to get a delicious juice with an amber colour and cidery taste. Son #1 set up the photo for tonight's post.

Makes about 6L of juice
- 24 lbs apples
- 1 juicer
- 2 clean tea towels, damp (they will get stained)
- two large pots/bowls
- kitchen thermometer
- 6 1L canning jars and lids

Sterilize your jars. Get a large pot of water boiling to process the jars of juice.
1. Use large rubber bands to affix the tea towels over the top of the pots/bowls. Don't make the towel tight over the bowl; rather, make sure it dips into the bowl so it can hold the juice.
2. Working in batches, chop the apples and process them through the juicer. Pour into the towel over one of the bowls and let drip through. You will find that the towel quickly gets gummed up with a pectiny residue, so I made this a pretty rough filtering. Once most of the juice passed through, I detached the towel and squeezed the remaining juice through. Then, I poured it through the other towel while I cleaned the first towel. I then passed it through the first towel once again.
3. Once all the juice has been filtered, heat to 190 degrees F and keep at that temperature for 5 mins. Pour into jars, top with lids, then screw the ring on finger tight. Place in pot of boiling water (making sure water covers lids), return to boiling, then boil for 10 mins with lid on. Remove from heat, remove lid, and let sit for 5 mins. Remove jars from water and let cool.